Oh, lordy in heaven, if John Hamilton thought he was stuck in an unlucky rut yesterday, he’s gotta be feeling like a guy with a perpetual raincloud hanging over his head this AM.
The Republicans in the Indiana legislature sneaked a provision into the state budget bill, passed late last night strictly along party lines, that effectively bars Bloomington from implementing its annexation plan for the next few years.
No matter what you feel about the annexation scheme — I don’t like it but recognize it as an inevitability — the legislature targeting our town and robbing us of whatever shred of sovereignty we have left is a slap in the face.
The scuttlebutt goes that State Representative Jeff Ellington (R-Dist. 62), at the behest of the Cook Group’s mouthpiece, Steve Ferguson, sneaked the insertion through under cover of darkness.
When Rep. Matt Pierce (D-60) got wind of the provision, he jumped up and squawked about it. It’s entitled section 161 of HB1001, page 172. He addressed the House about the way this fast one was pulled, saying at one point:
… I didn’t have anyone approach me about putting a provision in the budget bill. Did it occur to, maybe, check in with the person who represents most of the city of Bloomington? Get some feedback on what people are thinking?
[h/t to Steve Volan]
Now people may well have been thinking the annexation plan is as welcome as Ted Nugent at a MENSA meeting, but the provision really has nothing to do with The Will of the People. It likely has everything to do with the 800-pound gorilla in the room and that’s Cook.
Even folks who are four-square against this city expansion proposal are aghast at the sliminess of this whole affair.
The provision forbids any city that intro’d an annexation proposal in the first half of 2017 from proceeding thereupon. There’s only one city that has made such a proposal and that’s Hamilton’s. It was targeted, self-serving legislation designed to benefit a corporate heavy-hitter and no one else.
This, my friends, is what passes for democracy in this holy land today.
No matter what your take on Hamilton is or has been to this point in time, you have to feel at least a tiny bit sorry for him right about now.